Sunday, February 25, 2024

Justice Unfinished / Stories from the Shadows

9:15 AM: Justice Unfinished

An in-person all-ages service led by Director of Religious Education Colleen Thoele, Affiliated Community Minister Rev. Renée Ruchotzke. Reflection by Ellen

The work of dismantling racism and oppression is everyone’s to do. How can we work together for a better world when the systems in place are broken? How do we build a better way?

10:00 AM Lifespan Religious Exploration

Religious exploration for our children and youth in classrooms.

Facilitated small reflection groups for adults in Hobbs Hall using our wondering questions:

  • What personal or societal injustice has shaped your life?
  • When the enormity of injustice looms, what enables you to hold on to hope?

10:00 – 11:15 AM Community Café

Our social hour in Hobbs Hall is open to all. Connect with others, learn about the church, find out about programs and other opportunities to connect.

Acme, Giant Eagle, and Meijer grocery gift cards will be available for purchase. Learn more about this fundraiser.

11:00 AM: Stories from the Shadows

A multi-platform service (both in-person and on Zoom) led by Affiliated Community Minister Rev. Christie Anderson with Worship Associate Heidi Shaffer Bish.

On the fringe of Kent’s vibrant, bustling city, exists a population of chronically unhoused individuals who have been homeless for most of their adult lives. Frequently dismissed due to uninformed stereotyping, these folks have needs… but they might not be what we traditionally assume. Let us peer into the shadows to reveal a hidden world inhabited by fellow community members.

For those joining via Zoom, our meeting room opens 15 minutes prior to the start of the service (at 10:45 AM) for weekly announcements. We request that everyone joining the service please display your first and last name.  Thank you!

11:00 AM Zoom Information:
     Meeting ID: 974 6478 5626
        Dial by your location:  1 646 558 8656 (New York)
        Meeting ID: 974 6478 5626
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Learn more about our “new” Sunday morning format.

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New Sunday Morning Schedule Offers Something for Everyone!

Starting on February 4, 2024 we will be piloting a new Sunday morning schedule and format that includes a return to two services, but with different formats meeting different needs.

Our “traditional” hour-long worship service format, with readings, hymns, special music, and a sermon/homily will be offered at 11:00am (late sleepers, rejoice!).

We are adding an “all ages” 45-minute service starting at 9:15am, followed at 10:00 am by a 45-minute “all ages” time for religious exploration, with children and youth in age-appropriate classes, and adults in facilitated small discussion groups in Hobbs Hall (with coffee/tea). Occasionally, we will offer opportunities for multi-generational activities during this time.

At 10:00am, we will also have our “Community Café” in Hobbs Hall, a time to meet and greet others and with other opportunities for connection.

Our nursery will be staffed during the all ages religious exploration (10:00-10:45am in the Hobbs Hall building) and the during the traditional service (11:00am-12:00pm in the church building). The nursery room in the church building will also be open during the all ages service for parents/guardians who need a quieter spot during the all ages service.

What Is The Difference Between The Two Services?

The  9:15am “all ages” service might be described as both “scruffy and wiggly.” We welcome babies and anyone who is neuro-divergent. It is shorter, followed by an opportunity for discussion and reflection. The “all ages” service is only offered in person — there is no Zoom option. It provides many opportunities for lay involvement (in leading service elements as worship host or offering a short lay reflection), several consistent ritual elements, and music that leans toward participation rather than performance. We hope that, over time, those who worship with us regularly at the early service will have a repertoire of songs, poems, and prayers that they can access “in their pocket” from memory when needed in daily life.

The 11:00am service is “multi-platform,” i.e. there is a Zoom option. It includes more varied elements, including readings and a sermon or homily. It also includes offerings from our robust music ministry, including choral pieces, special musical guests, small group ensembles, and performances by our tone chime choir.

Tell Me More About All Ages Religious Exploration

We have been using a monthly “theme-based” ministry model for worship and religious exploration for our children and youth for several years using the Soul Matters curriculum. As part of this transition to two services and adding a Sunday morning option for adults, we will be leaning more deeply into our monthly themes:

2024 Themes:

Children and Youth (Teens)

Our children and youth have already been using the Soul Matters themes and their teachers will continue to use materials and activities to compliment the monthly theme.


Religious exploration is an important part of our ministry, which often happens in small-group theological and ethical discussions on our monthly themes It is a wonderful opportunity for our members and friends to have deep, pragmatic conversations about how we can live into our Unitarian Universalist values. Trained facilitators help keep the group focused and the sharing equitable. Learn more…

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